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Turkish detectives get around 20 spouse-surveillance cases a day

07 August 2011, Sunday / MUSTAFA GÜRLEK, İSTANBUL



Private detectives generally receive investigation cases on partner tracking


The president of the Private Detectives’ Association of Turkey, İsmail Yetimoğlu, has stated that most of the calls made to private detective offices concern partner tracking.

“Around 20 people call detective agencies a day for partner surveillance. But we mostly only accept cases where divorce suits are involved,” he said.

Private detectives are very common in the United States and Europe, and this is now becoming a favorite profession in Turkey. “Our role is to reveal the unknown angle of the information that exists without being exposed. We occasionally masquerade as a peddler or a beggar to gain the information we need,” according to Yetimoğlu.

The private detective profession is highly misunderstood in Turkey, as evident in the fact that detectives mostly receiving cases arising from people’s doubts. Yetimoğlu says they mainly take on cases where family ties have gotten really weak and where divorce suits are pending.

Child-surveillance cases are the second most common type of case they take on. “Parents generally want to know if their children use any kind of drugs, if they drink alcohol, who they hang out with in their spare time, and where they go with their friends.”

All information involving their clients is kept strictly confidential, he says, adding that they nevertheless face difficulties in society because of the fraudulent work of fake detectives, who provide their contact details on social media websites in which they describe themselves as professional detectives. Yetimoğlu says these people sometimes use the private information of their clients to swindle them.

Pressure from the Private Detectives’ Association has led to the Ministry of Economy developing the Private Detective Services Profession Code to prevent people from engaging in illegal detective work. However, according to Yetimoğlu, the code falls short of preventing illegal detectives from operating, Parliament thus needs to immediately enact a Detectives and Investigators Act.

The profession, Yetimoğlu says, is not as colorful and easy as Hollywood movies make it out to be. A detective should be able to pose as any sort of character, from a beggar to an alcoholic, he says.

In explaining the difficulty of his profession, Yetimoğlu decided to give an example: A company that works with chemicals was engulfed in a fire a few years ago and an employee got severely injured. He lost 70 percent of his vision. However, a report provided by ophthalmologists states that this person might recover his eyesight. The company did not neglect this employee, instead supporting him and providing for his daily needs every step of the way. However, this person sued the company a few years later, stating that had now lost 90 percent of his eyesight. He came to court hearings carrying a walking stick and with a medical report that supported his claim. Yetimoğlu said the company called the association in connection with this case and said the person can actually see, but that it couldn’t prove it.

“When the company came to us, the court was about to issue a ruling. We then went to the village of the person who claimed to have lost 90 percent of his vision. Having come to the attention of everyone in the village, we were unable to glean any information out of anyone. So a detective from our association went to the village as a temporary imam, thereby making it possible for us to prove that the so-called blind man actually reads newspapers and drives a tractor,” said the president of the association.

Yetimoğlu concluded by saying that not everyone can be a detective, and that this is why his group teamed up with Kocaeli University to train qualified and professional private detectives.

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